First Soldier Arrested for 1972
Bloody Sunday Deaths
By Julia Brodsky, Editorial Assistant
February / March 2016
This past November, detectives in County Antrim arrested a former British soldier who was involved in 1972’s Bloody Sunday. The arrest was the first made in connection with the incident, which claimed the lives of 14 civil rights protesters in Derry nearly 44 years ago.
The man was arrested and held and questioned at a police station before being released on bail.
Since the arrest, there has been a petition for British troops to be exonerated for their actions on Bloody Sunday, as many members of republican groups have been pardoned for crimes committed during the Troubles.
The 2010 Saville inquiry, which took 12 years to complete, exonerated the dead and asserted that none of the victims posed a threat to soldiers when they were shot. In 2012, a new investigation into the events was launched, and in the following year, the Ministry of Defense offered the families of the victims £50,000 each. Not one of the families has accepted the money.
“It’s the biggest thing to happen since the Saville Report,” said Jean Hegarty of the Free Derry Museum, regarding the arrest. Her brother, Kevin McElhinney, was among the civilians shot dead on Bloody Sunday. He was 17.
John Kelly, whose brother Michael was also 17 when he was killed on Bloody Sunday, affirmed that this arrest was the start of a change 44 years in the making and said, “I hope it will not take long to see these people in court being charged for what they did on Bloody Sunday – killing children. We believe everyone who fired that day should have been prosecuted.” ♦